Monday, May 28, 2012

The words of Sgt. Darrell S. Cole, USMC.

I am personally acquainted with some of the family of Sgt. Cole.  One of my close friends, his niece, shared this story from his hometown newspaper in which is printed a bit from his diary:

I am going to try and set down as many of the events that happened to me, from “boot camp up to the present. Of course, hundreds of things will have to be left out due to loss of memory, and other unavoidable circumstances.
To start with, I was a foot-loose vagabond before enlisting in the Marine Corps. I have tried my hand at doing nearly every thing, and succeeded at nothing. Simply because it never held any interest enough for me to continue it. Following is the things I’ve did and tried . All interesting while it lasted.
Ran away from home at 10 years of age. Burned a barn down at 3 years of age, with brother Stanley. Held janitor job in the 8th grade, 14 years old. In high school was on track team (mile), vice president of Dramatics Club, Editor-in-Chief of high school annual. In senior play, in band, Boys Glee Club, Mixed Chorus, Boys Quartet, Pep Squad, French Horn Trio, and was on NYA. Graduated out of 12th grade in three years, age 17.
Joined C.C.C.’s for fourteen months, served as Assistant Educational Advisor, Forest Service Clerk, Drove caterpillars and operated jackhammer. Did timber work, planted pine trees, studied map reading, blue-prints, organized a revolt in camp and a Forest Service Foreman. Learned photography and developed enlarged and printed for the camp. Was noted as assistant leader. Got honorable discharge to accept outside employment.
Was superintendent of Sunday School, and was president of B.Y.P.W., sang in choir, quartet of the church.
Was salesman for Kansas City Brokers. Sold house hold items, everything from fly spray to cosmetics.
Drove tractors one summer long. All night work in Kansas.
I’ve been over nearly all states in Union by riding freights.
Went to Detroit and worked as a truck driver, store room clerk, worked for Fordson Hotel in Dearborne, Mich., as bellboy and trouble shooter. Worked for Woolverine, Mfg., and Fabricating Co. Left there to enter service. Becoming too fond of wine, women, and song made good money, but night clubs got most of it. Wasn’t getting anywhere, so enlisted.
I enlisted with Raymond Rion, home town friend. Had quite a time in Boot Camp. I joined to fight, and was put blowing a bugle. There is a right way, and Marine Corps Way, naturally it’s easy to see which way we go.
As the Marine Corps as a whole, I’m pretty damn proud of it. I think no other service equals it, but not because I’m a member. But there are some stupid pig-headed officers who would rather regard their bars as tin Gods, rather than one-half of the Marine Corps they are. I’m glad they are in the minority. But just one can be enough hell.
At last the great day comes,
After tons of scuttlebutt, calculations, hard training, landing maneuvers, after drawing all equipment we were shoving off.
I was on board B train, with Lacy for the cross-continent trip of better than 4,000 miles, due to zig-zagging of troop trains. We wasn’t told San Francisco was the point of embarkation, suppose to be a secret My Lieutenant wrote the name on paper and “accidentally” dropped it in front of us. San Francisco it was.
It was hard to leave Raymond Rion back there when we pulled out of New River. I knew he wanted to go as badly as I did. And I figured that it was the last time I would see him. He figured the same I suppose. After boarding the Pullmans, one man to a seat and berth, we stored away all of our gear and leaned out the windows for a last look. There was no girl friends or any of our folks because of military secrecy, only  buddies in other outfits. The band was playing “Fighting First Marines,” ”Over the Hill, “Lets Go Men” and just as the train whistled a long blast, they broke into the “Marines Hymn” until we gathered speed and left them behind. Officers and enlisted alike behind were waving and hollering at the top of their voices.
I suppose the first 6 hours of that train ride we did more thinking about home, friends, everything than we ever diid.
We zig zaged through the states, had a swell time, seeing all the sights, reading, etc. We went through N.C., S.C., Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona into California.
We got off of train immediately into buses to the docks and aboard the U.S.S.. Erickson. Use to be the pride of the Swedish Merchant Marine then named the “Kungsholm.” We slept aboard one night, and was lost most the time trying to find our way around her as she was an enormous ship. The next day we went aboard the U.S.S. George F. Elliott, formerly the “City of San Francisco.” This was our home until landing on Guadalcanal.
We went on liberty from her every night until we left. Went to Oakland, Berkley, and San Francisco mostly. Famous hang outs was U.S.O., Club Shanghai, Club Shang LaRoy, Hurricane Club and the “Jade Dragon” in China town.
At last - All liberty was canceled. We weighed anchor, sailed under the Oakland Bay bridge and past and around Alcatraz Island, under the Golden Gate Bridge into the sea. All in a small convoy of about 13 ships. We only had one tin can (Destroyer) to guard us.
We watched land recede far behind us, until it was out of sight. We was ‘sure’ that it was the last we would see of the U.S. Then we all got the word that we were bound for New Zealand first. Slips of paper describing the country, people, and type of money were passed around.
Before two hours passed, we hit rough weather, and sailors as well as marines were green in the face, hanging over the side puking. I never really ever felt completely well any time aboard ship. But I never heaved yet - cause of sea sickness.
On board, two decks down our hold was rather small and cramped. Some bunks were 5 on top each other, mostly four. You had to slide side-ways to get in them. Everywhere we went we wore “Kapok” life preservers. Slept on them. We had “General Quarters” daily, as well as gun watches 24 hours a day. We were very lucky (I later found out) in having 3 meals daily. The accommodations were so small, usually you ate one meal and fell into the rear of another chow line for the next meal, time you ate. You weren’t allowed to stay below decks in your quarters, you couldn’t lean on the rail, couldn’t go aft, couldn’t go forward, couldn’t sit on life rafts or equipment, couldn’t go in Wardroom Country, couldn’t go topside to sun deck, couldn’t do nothing but sit on steel deck and read. Sit - not lie down for there wasn’t enough room. Then every 15 minutes the swab jockeys came through swabbing down the decks with hoses. Such was the life aboard most any transport. Guys would sing, shoot craps, play poker, blackjack, cribbage - most anything to occupy time  and mind.
Several days and night passed until the first land was sighted. Everyone deserted their jobs on the ship over to go topside for a glimpse of land. We sailed all morning long with the land to our starboard side. Occasionally we would catch sight of Artisan boiling wells. The land looked strange and sort of queer. Started boarding at last in mist of fog and rain. We entered the harbor at Wellington. We were met by tugs and a pilot at the entrance. I was on top of a pile of landing boats, others were hanging from ropes, cables, tops of gun turrets, anywhere to see everything to be seen. We entered the harbor and sailed around an island in the middle. Finally we docked. The buildings were tan English style. Straight and prim looking. The highest one was 12 stories high.
At last I finally got my first liberty.
We fairly had some time. Catching “trams” (street cars), catching on to the English money, trying to understand their talk. Too much hard liquor there, warm beer and plenty of ‘milk bars’ or confectionery mostly.
I, Red O’Hara, Jack Hughes decided to have us ‘tea and crumpets’ a favorite with the Zealanders. We went in, and when the waitress came around, all three felt so foolish that after a few minutes Red finally ordered it. Felt like ordering some women’s pants or brassiere or something similar. Girls didn’t know how to Jitterbug when we landed - but about an hour afterward, they were all trying it..
Boys curled their hair, and wore corsets, both boys and girls had complete sets of false teeth at 18-21 years of age, due to lack of minerals in their water there.
People were all very, very friendly. Especially the girls. The girls there are very hot natured, and they are frank in their intentions.
Red and I were sitting with two once, at a dance, when one made the remark that she “sure was all knocked up.” Red looked at me, and I looked at him; we both looked at the girls, finally acted like we never noticed it. Later on one of them asked the other how much she had been screwed that evening. That was too much for Red - (he) haw-hawed out. Both girls looked at us in surprise. I knew then they were referring to something else, from what Red and I thought.
I asked them if they knew what that was in our American slang - they didn’t - and I plainly told them. They were very much embarrassed, but said they were glad I told them so they would watch what they say around any more Marines.
The two weeks there - I worked the hardest I ever did in my life. Combat loading ships. Finally one day, we slipped out again into the sea, all primed for action. We still didn’t know where we was going. After a zig-zag course, we arrived at Coral Island in the Fiji’s, and had 3 days landing maneuvers there. Then we sailed again. One day later our task force joined us, and we were told Guadalcanal was our destination.
Then we started preparing right. Sharpened bayonets, cleaned our rifles all day long,, packed and repacked our combat packs, so’s to have the right things, and just the right amount. Our knives were like razors. Every one wrote last letters and gave them to sailors to take back for them.
Finally, the night before, Colonel Cates, our battalion commander, made a speech over the loud speaker of the ship. Lot of bull shit. About how we were picked to start the first American offensive in this war, that Marines were picked to do it - etc., so on. The whole group sang Marines Hymn, which did help to settle nerves.
Everyone made a last check and went to bed. Every minute we were looking for a bombing or torpedo attack. 2:30 next morning guys were up without being woke, some hadn’t slept all night. We had 2 eggs; boiled, two apples, cup of hot Joe, for breakfast. As we received this, the sailors wished us good luck, and said not to come back for more unless we each had at least two pair of Jap ears.
We put on packs and stood by, waiting for hell to break loose. We were slipping by all the Islands undetected so far. Our faces were all black from cork. Each man had a belt full of ammunition, and two bandoliers more around his shoulders. Some of us had 2 hand grenades apiece.
As the hour (H hour) approached, you could see a lot of them nervous, some were in corners praying, some were shaking hands with buddies who were not in the same wave as they were.
At last we heard a plane motor. Then immediately everything opened up. It was a Jap observation sea plane. Our anti-aircraft guns opened up. Everything was a huge roar. We heard the loud speaker say “Stand by!” finally up we went, soon as I cleared the hatch, I started looking around. Everywhere it was kind of dark, just was getting gray in the east. Planes in the sky were shooting everywhere.
On Guadalcanal I saw smoke pouring high in the air. Dive bombers were bombing all over one big continual roar. I caught all of this in a glance. We had an hour’s ride ahead of us in the Higgins boats. We was over the side down the nets like rats  pouring out of a hole. Machine guns were lowered to us, as well as ammunitions. We rendezvous in a circle with other boats of our wave, and then off we took for shore at top speed. Holman, Kahle, Myers, Lacey, Captain Fergerson, Lt. Licktman (sp?), Graham, were in the command boat with me. We ducked our heads low and waited.
We passed our battlewagons on all sides of us. They were some sight to see. They would throw broadside after broadside into the Japs. Flame and smoke would shoot out a hundred feet. They would slide sideways after firing. Most all were brown from powder smoke.
Finally the barrage stopped. We were getting close to shore. Finally our boat hit sand. We were up and over the side. The top kick jumped off the rear into water over his head. All of us grabbed two boxes of machine gun belts and ran under cover. We had landed.
We were bombed in about 2 1/2 hours afterward. Then again later. Later my battalion’ mission was to circle back of Henderson Field and come in and capture it. We went behind it all right, but the 5th Marines had found no opposition, so they went on down the beach and took it. The Japs ran like hell, left breakfast and everything on the table.
We later sat up beach defenses and along the Lenora River on August 20, about 11:30 at night, the Japs came in off cruisers and destroyers in high speed landing boats and together with their forces who came out of the hill attacked the Lenora front. My company’s machine guns were all up and down the River.
The Japs were crack Imperial Black Dragon Troops, Japan’s finest landing forces. We found out they had made 16 successful landings before then, on Wake Islands, Timor, Philippines, in China, and other places. Anyway, the Lenora battle was the first major land battle in this war by Marines in the Solomons. In two days battle we killed 1462 Japs by actual count. We lost 28 men and 72 wounded. Japs were stacked up 3 to 5 deep on the beach, with their guts, arms, heads, everything all over the beach.
We buried 300 of them in one hole. Dynamited out. Hundreds of things happened during that fight.
Schmidt, Dramond, Johnny Rivers was in my company, and Johnny was killed. He was shot first, and a sergeant grabbed his legs and tried to pull him off of the gun for first aid, but he wouldn’t go. He later got killed. He held a long burst on the gun, almost a full belt, and they got him. Then Schmidt took over. Rivers was a swell guy, liked by all.
Corporal Wolvington was killed there. He would run up and down the line with a light 30 machine gun. He knocked out 2 Jap nests before he was killed. Verlon Sanders was killed, he was crawling out to help Ryan back to shelter (who was wounded) when he got shot. One day, Dillman (came back with me) was bayoneted 3 times and wounded 3 times by hand grenades.
Corporal Cayo (sp?), our barber was caught in his fox hole by a Jap Captain, who practically cut his head off with his sword, not satisfied, he slashed him across the belly and legs. Came up from behind. The Jap died too, a minute later.
One Jap on the beach threw up his hands to surrender, but a Marine jumped in front of him and run his bayonet clear through him. Officers and men went along and shot every Jap through the head, dead, wounded or alive. They would be 2 and 4 hours playing dead until some one came through, then they would throw a grenade.
One corpsman had a pair of pliers in his pocket. Every Jap he came to - he pulled out their gold teeth - whether they were dead or alive. He had 218 solid gold teeth the last I knew. Each Jap had at least 4 gold teeth.
One Marine in G Co. killed 3 Japs with a machete, after killing the last one, he looked down and fainted away.
We sent in 6 tanks in Hell’s Point to clean out the last few sniper nests One tank hit a coconut tree going up and knocked out a sniper with a light machine gun and run him down.
Our first German planes arrived on the 20th.
Then followed days and days of lying in foxholes and watching Jap bombers come over and bomb us. We never could leave the side of a fox hole for fear of a bombing raid. We didn’t have enough planes to keep them off.
For one month and a half we ate Jap rice, with the husk on it, and it was full of little white worms. Japs had it in straw sacks, worms could get in easily. Couldn’t throw them out. We got one lump in the morning and another in the evening. No coffee at first at all.
We captured almost 100 trucks, equipment we captured was valued at 20 million dollars.
It isn’t any fun lying in a hole watching those bastards drop eggs on you, and can’t do nothing about it. One day alone it killed 11 guys alone in my Company.
I used to write most of my letters, or post cards mostly, when I heard that an air attack was on its way. I laid the letters about fifty feet away, so if I got killed, maybe they still wouldn’t be damaged any, and some one would send them on. I use to write that I was well, in good health, and eating 3 squares a day, during those bombing raids. One day I had a 500 lb. bomb hit in the back of my fox hole, and two anti personnel bombs in front about 65 feet away. It caved the dirt in on my legs and arms. I got out OK. Picked up a chunk of shrapnel big as my head out of the hole with me.
We had every type of warfare known on Guadalcanal. Including tanks, flame throwers, submarines shelling us, also Jap battleships, bombing continuously during the day and night, We had to fight snipers everywhere among us. We had Jap land based artillery shelling us, as well as strafing from their Zero planes.
Patrols would find Negro women tied to coconut trees, hands and feet tied, stripped naked, raped by the Japs, their breasts cut off, tongues cut out, and their bellies looked like pin cushions, where they had been bayoneted so many times. We found a few of our men that way also. There’s no prisoners when taken afterward.
The Army finally came in - about 3 months late, to relieve us.
I don’t have much to say for them. They were really a mess. Scared to death because we were leaving, and all I ever heard was how some of their officers led them into traps and a lot was true too.
They came down with bathrobes, pajamas, cots to sleep on, and right across from them, we had clothes almost torn off, had to sleep on the ground, no blankets, no chow hardly, nothing at all. And we were supposed to be under Army orders, under McArthur. We had to draw what chow we had from the Army, after they came in. The first army group had been there ONE month only, when they all started to cry for relief. We had only been there 4 1/2 months, and no relief. And people wonder what the difference between the Marine Corps and the Army !
You couldn’t tell them any thing at all. Lots of men died on that account. Wouldn’t listen. Army had several men to crack up there. 5 guys went mad in 30 minutes once.
They have more weapons, and better equipment, everything, yet one battalion of Marines can take sticks and kill more Japs than a regiment of Army can.
I didn’t believe there is a man who can tell 1/10 of what happened down there. Something was happening every minute. And no one will ever know the thoughts, ideas that a man gets in a hell like Guadalcanal was.
A place where you starved for food and water, mosquitoes and flies by the millions, hot in the day, cold as hell at night, no blankets enough to keep warm, continual rain, had to carry rifle in hand every where, eat two meals a day, if you had it, shelled and bombed at night, bombed in the daytime, standing 4 hour guard watches. Always waiting for an attack by the Japs. Loss of sleep and food - everyone was skin and bones, with low resistance. A small cut turned into a running sore overnight. Men’s lips were cracked open by heat and chapped.
As well as riding on a transport, waiting for a bombing or a torpedo in the night. Traveling without lights, wearing life preservers, and crowded all the time. Once the men all caught diarrhea, and they didn’t have enough toilets for the 1500 men. They shit in shirts, trousers, anything and threw it over board. Only thing they could do.
After all that, get in the states, and have some guy ask you if you knew there was a war on, cause you asked for two packs of gum, not knowing anything about rationing, and dozens of other cases!
Some people appreciate it all, most just take it all for granted.
I left Guadalcanal 22 December on U.S.S. Nordham, a Dutch ship, to Lulagi Harbor. Next day went aboard the U.S.S. President Johnson and went to New Hebrides Islands. Was over there for a while, then through to Melbourne, Australia on the U.S.S. Lyon.
Rough waters there, in the Coral and Tasmanian Seas. Left my old Company outfit in Lawrence Stadium, went aboard the U.S.S. West Point and sailed for Auckland, New Zealand. From Auckland on into San Francisco, Calif.
I was sent back because of my severe case of malaria. I went to Treasure Island in San Francisco’s Bay, then to Camp Linda Vista, then to Camp Elliott. From there to Hadnot Point, N.C., then joined 23 Marines at Tent City, Camp LeJeune. From there to Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, California.
I came back and found my girl almost married to another guy in the army, as most of the boys did. She did at least wait until I got back. Most didn’t.
So endeth this chronicle.
Darrell S. Cole

On February 19, 1942, Sgt. Cole led his machine gun section ashore on Iwo Jima.  After being pinned down by two enemy machine gun positions, armed with only a pistol and grenades because the machine guns had jammed taking out a previous position, Sgt. Cole, acting alone, destroyed the enemy positions.  During his one man assault he returned to his own lines twice to retrieve additional grenades.  On returning to his men after completing his mission he was killed by an enemy grenade.

For his actions Sgt. Cole was awarded the Medal of Honor.  The destroyer USS Cole is named for him.

Friday, May 25, 2012

"I'm the only one professional enough to burn down this building."

Birmingham police officer charged with arson:

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- A Birmingham police officer has been arrested in connection to a recent series of Warrior arsons, said Warrior Fire Chief Clay Neely.

Curtis Thornton, a resident of Dana Road in Warrior, has been charged in connection to at least two recent arson fires in Warrior, Neely said.

Specifics of those charges are not available, but they are felonies and have been turned over to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

What an idiot.

Quote of the Day: Version 2.0

It's my blog and I can have two if I want! 

From Popehat:

As I type this, the SpaceX Dragon capsule has just docked with the International Space Station.  And you can watch it on the internet.

This is one small step for free enterprise, one giant leap for mankind.  The government won't ensure that humans escape this planet before the comet hits, giant tsunamis strike, the core reverses polarity, or the Daleks arrive.  The government couldn't find a clue if Colonel Mustard was appointed head of Homeland Security.

Private enterprise will save us, even if it has to destroy the earth to do so.

I LOL'd!  

Quote of the Day: Respect for Cultural Diversity

This ones comes from VFTP, regarding the PSH in Dubai over some foreigners showing a little ankle:

No, Khadija, I do not have to respect the culture. I no more have to respect the culture of those backwards goat-molesting savages than I do the culture at a backwoods Klan cross-burnin'; the only difference is that the Kluxxers aren't sitting atop the world's petroleum reserves, so I don't even have to pretend to respect them.

Thank you, Tam.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Quote of the Day: The Stupid! It burns!

I can't believe someone actually said this:
“In the film 'On The Road,' Kristen Stewart engages in a threesome and masturbates two male characters," Dan Gainor of the Culture and Media Institute complains to Radar Online. “How will parents who took their daughters to see the 'Twilight' movies explain this? It is irresponsible of Stewart and manipulative of Hollywood bosses.”
First off, I don't particularly think Twilight is the most appropriate movie/book series for your young and impressionable children.  That's not really the issue here though.  This woman is an adult.  She's going to do adult roles.  If you don't want your child seeing adults doing adult things don't take them to adult movies or let them read adult books.

Also, teens have sex.  Lots of sex.  Sometimes sex with multiple partners.  Chances are pretty good your sweet little daughter has, if she's a teen, had her mouth on someone's genitals.  That's reality.  Fucking deal with it.  Teach her how to be safe, for god's sake put her on birth control, and hope she's not too stupid.    

Kristen Stewart is not a role model.  She is an actor.  You, Parent, are supposed to be the role model.  Act like it.

War on Women.

Democrat Senators pay female staffers less than male staff members. 

Article posted on Facebook by Michael Z. Williamson.

SPLC smear tactics.

The Birmingham News recently had an article talking about a list of 'radicals' compiled by the SPLC.  One of those is Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars. 

The article details some of the SPLC's specific claims and even includes Mr. Vanderboegh's responses to them.  It seems like a fair article until you realize there is not a single mention of the Gun Walker Scandal brought to light in large part by Mr. Vanderboegh's work. 

The comments leave a lot to be desired since they go mainly focus on one of the other 'radicals' who I know little about and are in large part a debate on the legality of secession.  I felt compelled to leave my own comment specific to Mr. Vanderboegh:

While I applaud this article at least putting in Mike Vanderboegh's responses to the SPLC's ludicrous claims I find it highly suspicious that the article completely leaves out that Mr. Vanderboegh is also one of the two men who have brought to light the fact that the current administration, all the while screaming for more gun control because of the violence in Mexico, was allowing the sale of weapons to Mexican criminals who then transported them across the border into the hands of those responsible for the violence, the Mexican drug cartels.  No effort was made to track the weapons or stop them. 

One of the thousands of weapons was later used in the murder of US Border Patrol Agent Bryan Terry.  Mr. Vanderboegh has been at the forefront of attempting to have those in the administration responsible for illegal weapons trafficking to foreign nationals, which has led to the murders of an unknown number of Mexican citizens and a US Border Patrol Agent, to justice.  But no mention of that. 

This whole SPLC attack is nothing but a smear campaign against Mr. Vanderboegh because he has dared to be the enemy of a criminal organization that goes straight to the top of the US Justice Department and probably right into the oval office.  "Don't listen to that crazy gunnut hatriot radical!"  Mr. Vanderboegh may have patrolled the border, but at least he didn't sell guns to criminals and let them walk across the border into the hands of the murderous drug cartels as Eric Holder did.
I'm sure the comment will probably be ignored or over looked considered the number of comments already posted on a moot point of history so I thought I would share it here

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

To infinity and beyond!

After being delayed earlier this month the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Dragon Space Craft blasted off early this morning, into space and into history:

(CNN) -- A new era in space exploration dawned Tuesday as a slender rocket powered into the dark Florida sky before sunrise, carrying the first private spacecraft bound for the International Space Station.

"We're now back on the brink of a new future, a future that embraces the innovation the private sector brings to the table," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "The significance of this day cannot be overstated."

The unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 3:44 a.m., carrying 1,300 pounds of food, clothing and scientific experiments on a demonstration mission to gauge the company's ability to safely and efficiently deliver supplies to astronauts staffing the orbiting station.
 Next up comes docking with the space station.  If all goes well it should not be long before the United States is once again sending Americans into space without relying on foreign governments.

Score one for private enterprise, and the American entrepreneur! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

On The Range #68: IDPA 101 at Brock's Gap Training Center

This past Saturday I spent the day at Brock's Gap Training Center for their IDPA 101 course.  IDPA 101 is designed to give you a idea of what to expect in an IDPA match without having to actually show up to some random match and shoot, thereby taking out some, if not all, of the stress involved with any new competitive endeavor.

Brock's Gap Training Center is a massive private outdoor shooting range located in Hoover, Alabama (which is within the Birmingham Metro area).  There are multiple areas to shoot every type of firearm you can think of, and the range hosts a plethora of matches including IDPA, Cowboy Action, 3 Gun, 2 Gun, and a variety of other matches for rifle, pistol, and shotgun individually.  Most matches are open to non-members.

My day there started at 9AM with an hour long segment that included a safety briefing and a detailed introduction into what shooting IDPA is all about, range commands, demonstrations of those commands in action, and equipment we'd be seeing. 

By 10AM we hit the shooting bays to shoot an unofficial match, and that's where we saw that the man responsible for this course, Charlie Baker, hadn't been kidding when he told us that he followed the philosophy of "train harder than you play."  Every single target I saw had half the scoring area blacked out to signify that portion of the target being behind hard cover.  It was explained that any hit in those areas would be counted as a miss, and since we were shooting limited there would be no make up shots.

Fear the black!

Shooting started out slow.  The first stage was draw, one shot to the head six times (each shot timed separately).  From there things got progressively harder.  Every shooter suffered from the hard cover markings which made plenty of zero down shots misses.  

Most of the shooting was set up around drills (double taps, triple taps, Mozambiques, modified El Prez).  Every stage involved multiple targets except stage 1 and a non-scored shooting from retention target.  Stages incorporated as many as nine targets.  We shot one stage with with a popper activated swinger, and another with three human and three dog targets (our final stage) that included free style standing shooting, weak hand only kneeling, and strong hand only prone all from cover.

One shooter shooting laterally.  This stage was 9 targets, all shot on the move.

The last stage, and probably the most difficult.

I only interacted with my own squad of 8 shooters (we had two for a total of 16), but everyone was friendly, willing to offer advice, complimentary, and helpful.  Everyone pasted targets as quickly as possible.  There were so many hands pasting that at times it was hard to find a hole to paste!  After the match ended everyone assisted the RSOs with the cleaning up the bays we'd used.  
Speaking of the RSOs, these guys were also great.  Charlie Baker handled the lecture part of the day and then acted with another man as instructor/RSO for the second squad.  My squad had a gentleman named Robert Moore and another man whose name I am sorry to say I've forgotten.  Both of them were extremely competent and informative, willing to answer questions and quick to give praise where it was due.  A key thing they  pointed out time and time again was that we'd probably never see that much black in a real match so a lot of our misses would be zero down hits.  

This was a very fun day, and one in which I learned a lot.  The first stage found me with shaking hands and wobbly knees.  Wobbly enough that I was worried about walking.  The nervousness and adrenaline wore off quickly but it was a new experience.  It didn't stop me from shooting well though.  

I really enjoyed this experience, and I can't wait to become an IDPA member, shoot my first official match, and shoot a classifier.
I did all of my shooting with my Glock 17 Gen IV carried in my DSG Alpha holster with a DSG Alpha double mag holder carrying my magazines.  I was very pleased with how everything worked.   

Oh, and while it was an unofficial match we were emailed match results Saturday afternoon that included results by stage and overall.  Out of 9 stages I finished 5th or better out of 16 shooters in all but one stage.  I won one stage outright.  Overall I finished 4th of 16.  I also had a total of 83 points down, which was the lowest for all shooters, meaning even with all the black I was shooting the most accurately.  The next lowest points down was 100. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Gun school tomorrow.

Specifically an IDPA 101 class.  Should be about five hours long, most of it in the range. Look for a write up within the next few days.

I don't care if that's your job.

"Just doing my job!" isn't a good enough excuse when it comes to the TSA.  It's not good enough when it comes to the BATFE.  It's not good enough when it comes to police raiding the wrong house.  We rail against these things day in and day out.  We call those who perform the actions thugs, SS Nazis, gestapo, etc etc. 

And yet people are quick to defend another blogger, who on the measure I generally like based on his blog (never met the man), when very clearly states he will violate someones rights (if only the right to be left the fuck alone as long as the only person you're harming is yourself) because, hey, that's his job. 

As a small (L) libertarian using force against a person against their will for any reason other than self defense is morally and ethically wrong.  There are some limited cases where I'll make an exception (young children being the main one).  Where adults are concerned this is pretty much an absolute.

The Constitution explicitly protects a right to life.  It does not mandate that you have to exercise that right, nor does it mandate that you be stopped from deciding it's time to stop exercising.  This is consistent with my personal moral value that your life is yours to do with as you please so long as you are harming no one else.

I don't think people should commit suicide, but that doesn't mean "there oughta be a law!"  I also feel that if there is a law then those enforcing it, while maybe not as morally and ethically bankrupt as Nazis killing Jews, are certainly in the same class as the TSA and the police manning the DUI/insurance checkpoint.  That is to say, I like a few, but I wouldn't want one marrying my sister. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On The Range #67: Dot Torture

This was a short session on the range Sunday afternoon.  I took 50 rounds of TulAmmo out of the ammo can and grabbed a Dot Torture target

50/50.  Very pleased.

For the first time ever I shot Dot Torture clean.  One shot on dot 7 almost cost me a point, but the grease mark broke the line so I counted it as in.  If I can shoot Dot Torture clean two more times I'll move out from three to seven yards.  

It pains me to admit I'm a better shooter with the Glock than I was with the 1911.  However, one must accept reality.    

I was shooting from a new holster, a DSG Alpha kydex holster, that I recently purchased.  I also bought a double mag holder to go with it.  So far it's a great carry rig, and I'm planning on using it for IDPA as well.  I have a review of the holster and mag holder in the pipe line.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Released to full duty.

Went to the doc today and I was given a release to full duty with no followups necessary.  I go to pick up a new work van tomorrow and I should be back to work Wednesday. 

This actually works out well.  After being off for six weeks going to straight back to work for a full week doesn't appeal.  Instead I'll work Wednesday.  My normal off days are Thursday/Friday, and then I'm off Saturday (I requested it off months ago) to take an intro to IDPA class.

On The Range #66: Magpul MIAD and Troy Industries Ambi Safety

I mentioned Saturday that I'd installed an ambi safety and a Magpul MIAD grip on my AR.  Saturday afternoon I decided to do a little function testing on the range.  It was nothing special, just one 30 round magazine fired at a precision target from 3 to 25 yards, mostly slow fire.

The ambi safety is made by Troy Industries.  It has levers that will go on either side so that a right or left handed shooter can operate the safety without breaking their grip.  One lever is large (I put it on the right side of the gun) and one smaller to be unobtrusive.  I've played with it during dry fire and had no issue.  This held true on the range as well.  It goes off easily with a full grip.  Putting the gun back on safe, for me, requires me to slightly break my grip.  This isn't an issue for me.

I'm glad I bought the new safety.  Operating a right hand safety being left handed is a pain in the ass, and an awkward one at that.  I like this much better, and it was worth every penny.  If you're in a similar situation I highly recommend making the change.

The Magpul MIAD is, as I expected it would be, a god send.  For me, the ergonomics of the standard grip on my Spike's lower sucked.  My hand was way to close to the trigger and the result was an awkward trigger pull.  With the large back strap on the MIAD grip my finger is exactly where it needed to be so that I was able to get a smooth trigger pull without having to do any weird acrobatics with my my finger. 

Installing the MIAD grip has removed a lot of awkwardness from my rifle shooting and it's going to make it a lot more fun too.  I'm also pretty sure it's going to help my shooting, especially out at distance.  If I'm not worried about how uncomfortable my hand is I'll be better able to concentrate on my breathing and getting a smooth, consistent movement out of my trigger finger. 

I don't think I'll regret either of these purchases.  The safety and new grip both have improved the ergonomics of the gun, and that's important to me.  The more comfortable it is, the more I'm going to shoot it.  I didn't put near a grand into this thing to let it sit in the safe.  Hell, I liked shooting it before, this just makes it that much better. 

One of the great things about the AR platform is how adaptable it is to the individual.  I can use any damn AR out there.  I know how to use a generic gun.  The one I've put together is my rifle, though.  I've tailored it to myself:  my taste, my needs, my body.  You can't ask for much more than that.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Magpul MIAD.

From the beginning I'd decided that I'd be adding things to my AR as I had time/funds to do so.  It's all coming together pretty well.  So far I've replaced the standard hand guard with a railed hand guard, added one of the Magpul ASAP sling mounts, attached a Magpul AFG, replaced the safety with an ambidextrous safety, and attached a Streamlight flashlight.

Notice a trend?

Most recently I added a Magpul MIAD grip.  I bought this particular grip on a bit of a lark.  I was just going to get a MOE grip in FDE, but Amazon was carrying the MIAD and it seemed cool so what the hell? 

I'm really happy that I made this particular purchase.  The MIAD has interchangeable back straps and that is something I had a need for.  I've noticed that my hand is way too close on the small standard grip.  Operating the trigger was awkward and uncomfortable as a result.  I sucked it up, and I could shoot fine, but the new grip with the large back strap has really improved ergonomics.  I've done a bit of dry firing and it's a huge improvement.  

The MIAD also allows you to store a few small things in the body of the grip in a small storage core.  The storage core it comes with will hold a couple of rounds of .223/5.56, but you can buy others that will hold batteries or even bolt and firing pin.  I'm thinking about picking up one that holds CR123A batteries for the flashlight I have mounted.

Along with all that the MIAD also has interchangeable front straps and some really aggressive texturing on the sides and back strap.  The textruing will be nice in a sweaty situation, but it's aggressive enough that it could be uncomfortable for some shooters.

Hopefully later today I'll be getting out on the range to do some shooting.  I think it will be a LOT more enjoyable now that I've replaced the safety with an ambi model and replaced the grip with something that suits me better.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Robert's Picks


March to the Sea by David Weber and John Ringo (very good)

Blue Screen by Robert B. Parker (good)

The Blade Itself  by Joe Abercrombie (excellent)

March to the Stars by David Weber and John Ringo (very good)

L.A. Requiem by Robert Crais (excellent)


Cowboys and Aliens (very good)

The Rum Diary (good)

Sweeney Todd:  The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sharpe's Peril (good)


The Avengers (excellent)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What's small and round and will give you a rock hard boner?

Dead baby pills.

The words "Take off and nuke the site from orbit" come to mind.

Poisoned sheet rock.  Poisoned baby formula.  Poisoned dog food.  Dead baby pills.

And if you thought dead baby pills weren't bad enough these contain drug resistant bacteria.  Don't get me wrong, I think if you're knowingly taking dead baby pills you deserve some horrible bacterial infection, but I'd rather the Chinese not kick off the Zombie Apocalypse.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wet shave.

With a straight razor.  Because safety razors are for pussies.

I've had a hankering for the traditional barber experience lately.  There is at least one place in Birmingham where I can get a nice wet shave, but after looking into it and seeing the money savings involved I decided I wanted to try it at home.  So I hopped on Amazon and made a few purchases:

1.  The Art of Shaving Starter kit.  This comes with a pre-shave oil, traditional wet shave cream, a brush, and aftershave balm.  The bottles are travel sizes and the whole kit is just over $20 and qualifies for Amazon prime.  It's perfect for a someone who wants to give wet shaving a whirl.

2.  Parker straight razor with replaceable blades.  I went with this because it was cheap, and if I don't like it I'm out $20 rather than the ~$200 I'll pay for a good traditional straight razor.  Boker makes some nice ones.

Later today I'm going to my local cigar shop for an Oliva cigar event so I figured it was the perfect time to try my hand at the wet shave with a straight razor. 

No blood!

I really expected to cut myself, but I took my time and did ok.  Since this was my first time I followed the recommendation I was given of only doing one pass so it's not the closest shave I've ever had, but it's still a good shave.

The shave itself was...different.  My cheeks were easy enough, though I did have to change hands to get my right cheek with my left hand.  Since I keep a beard I was worried I'd get to deep into it with my right hand.  
Under the chin was easy straight down my neck but getting out to the sides was more difficult and awkward.  I'm just going to have to experiment to see what works best.  I'm going to watch some YouTube videos for ideas. 

Shaping up my sideburns along the jawline was probably the most challenging aspect of the shave.  That's something I'm going to have to spend a lot of time if I want to avoid cutting myself.  

All in all, I'm very happy with the experience and I think this is going to be the way to go for me.  I'm already thinking of putting some money down on a nice straight razor.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Firearms manufacturers that use hex head screws are assholes.

I finally got around to buying an ambidextrous safety for my AR.  I pulled up a video on YouTube so I could see how to install it.  It looks like a very simple thing to do. 

I grab a screwdriver, turn my lower over to get at the grip screw, and promptly yelled, "FUCK!!"  Rather than a universal flat head screw Spike's Tactical has used a screw that will required a goddamned male hex driver to remove.  What the fuck? 

It's bad enough when 1911 manufacturers do this with their grip screws.  I hate that AR manufacturers are turning out lego guns and trying to make it difficult to modify them.

Anyway, I had drivers at one point, but sticky fingers.  And people wonder why I everything I own is behind a padlock and why I generally hate people.  I guess I'll be making a trip to the hardware store.

Want to be an Airship Captain?

Then you might want to join the Army, Navy, or Air Force!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Armed robber identified.

The aborted violent crime statistic that I blogged about earlier has been identified as, I shit you not, Ja'Quares Cortez Walker.


This.  This is a vacation.

Victims of Communism Day.

Kevin explains it best:
Today is the fourth annual Victims of Communism Day, a day to remember the people murdered by their own governments in their quest to achieve a "worker's paradise" where everyone is equal, where "to each according to his needs, from each according to his abilities" is the beautiful dream lie.  R.J. Rummel, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Hawaii, has calculated that the total number of victims of Communism - that is, the domestic victims of their own governments - in the USSR, China, Vietnam, North Korea and Cambodia is 98.4 million people.  For all Communist governments during the 20th Century, he puts the estimate at approximately 110 million.  And this wasn't in warfare against other nations, this was what these governments did to their own people - "breaking eggs" to make their utopian omlette.
Over 100 MILLION people killed by their own governments in the vain quest to 'fix' people.  That's Communism.  Read Kevin's whole post on the subject.

Thirteen year old killed in Birmingham.

And I say good riddance:
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- A 13-year-old boy armed with a loaded gun and his face covered with a T-shirt was shot to death Friday night, Birmingham police said today.

Sgt. Johnny Williams gave this account:

A car pulled into the parking lot of an apartment complex at 407 Skyview Drive shortly after 11 p.m.

The driver later told police the teen approached the car and ordered him to get out. A passenger was also in the car.

The driver pulled a gun and shot the teen at least one time. The teen ran 30 feet, collapsed and died. The teen's gun was cocked and ready to fire, Williams said.
Life if hard.  It's harder when you're stupid.  I know a lot of people are going to say, "But he's just a kid!!  I've got one and he's cute and good so it's so sad."  That's stupid.  Not all kids are the same.  Ever met a vicious pit bull?  I have.  I also love the breed and know that given the right environment they can be wonderful family pets.  That love doesn't extend to feeling bad when I've had to kill a vicious dog on the attack.

The only sad part is that the guy who shot him is probably going to feel bad about it.  A kid with a gun pointed at you, threatening your life for your car is a criminal with a gun threatening your life for a car and you need feel no guilt for being the delivery vessel for the consequences of his actions.  We don't blame victims.  And we shouldn't feel sorry for violent criminals. 

I don't lack empathy, I just don't waste it on those that don't deserve.  This kid might have been a product of his environment and the culture he was raised in.*  Unfortunately, it's not the environment and culture that was pointed a loaded gun at someone.  It was the product.  That's reality.  That's what you have to deal.

*Then again, maybe not.  Not every kid in that situation grows up to be a violent criminal.  Of course, I also don't know for a fact that he grew up in the environment I assume he did.